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Linux Journal: Musings on Linux Profiteering

Jan 14, 2000, 07:19 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Kroll)

"Dogs are the most reasonable, friendly, affectionate creatures; compassionate, empathic, loyal, and supportive... until food enters the picture. Then they become whimpering idiots, begging, whining, contorting, groveling, prostrating themselves, acting as fools. Food, you see, makes them periodic imbeciles. The problem, of course, is that money has a magnified effect on people. Out go all the morals, all the ethics, every commitment, every belief, the moment the slightest bit of cash enters the picture. How many hackers/crackers/phreakers/warezmeisters fight against the system until they get a high-paying job at Microsoft, only to turn around and declare that all true hackers work at Microsoft and that "piracy" is immoral, and free software is bunk?"

"As you may have heard, more than a few people have become quite wealthy by selling free Linux software (or more specifically, selling Linux stock), and more than a few people caught on. And money is having its strange effect, hence the recent explosion of Linux distributions. (Although it's questionable what's worse: what money does to people when they have the opportunity to sell out and make a bundle, or what it forces them to do on a daily basis.) Oh, by the way, our recommendation that "everyone should have his or her own version of Linux" was a joke, but if you've gone ahead and done it, maybe you can grab some IPO cash, but don't count on the community to support you...."

"Some people who aren't waiting for the most appropriate time are crawling out of the woodwork. I keep receiving distributions I've never heard of, and reading about planned IPOs from the same (e.g., LinuxOne, though I have yet to see a product from this one). These people are rushing in, trying to cash in on the Linux craze before the wells dry up. What are the dangers of this? Suppose that these fly-by-night operations aren't of the same caliber as the SuSEs, Calderas, Turbos, Storms and Mandrakes of this world. Will investors lose faith in the Linux phenomenon, thinking it has been sucked dry? Will the legitimate, committed firms be able to get the capital they can use for delivering top-quality, supported Linux to the masses (and billions of dollars to themselves), ensuring that future generations won't have to suffer through proprietary, buggy operating systems?..."

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